Concerto Caprice

Choreographer: Susan Shields

Music: Vitorrio Giannini

Costumes: Janet Marie Groom

Lighting: Barbara E. Thompson

World Premiere: Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, August 24, 2004

PBT Performance Date: March 2006


Program Notes (from PBT playbill, 2006)

Susan Shields, choreographer, writes about Concerto Caprice for the world première performances at Wolf Trap in August 2004.

Growing up in Vienna, Virginia meant the Wolf Trap season was always greatly anticipated and summers inevitably brought many trips to the Filene Center.

My memories of Wolf Trap are of so many pleasurable evenings sand inspiring performances.  Somehow the ballets seemed more beautiful, and the orchestras resonated with more power.  All of the performing arts were able to be enjoyed in their purest sense in this venue.  Gazing at the stars, feeling baa breeze drift gently through a riveted audience, or hearing the crickets strum alongside violins made the arts even more spectacular.  Those early experiences ingrained in me the feeling that the arts are as natural a part of life as the trees surrounding the theater.

And so began my inspiration for Concerto Caprice – to capture the delight which I had always associated with Wolf Trap.  I committed early on not to be afraid of competing with the surrounding beauty, choosing instead to celebrate it.  What evolved is a classical dance that mimics the organization of the natural would yet reflects the chaos and asymmetry that makes nature all he more glorious.  Beauty is omnipresent in many forms -0 in structure and in chaos; in happiness and in pain; in the individual and in the ensemble.

The concerto grosso highlights solo instruments alternately woven with an orchestra.  The beauty of ensemble work is demonstrated when the different layers play together and the whole of the music becomes greater than the notes of the individual instruments.  Like the music, the dance works to acknowledge soloists, but pays greater tribute to the ensemble.  It is an homage to the simple notion that we dance best when we dance together and, in this, we discover the harmony and beauty.

Of course, the dancers of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre were instrumental in bringing this vision to life.  Each of them generously gave of their individuality and talents with a depth far beyond the physical.